USA TODAY’s inaugural NFT

Editor’s Note: The USA TODAY NETWORK will be auctioning its inaugural non-fungible token (NFT) inspired by the first newspaper delivered to space in 1971. Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space, transported a special edition of TODAY, now FLORIDA TODAY and part of the USA TODAY NETWORK, to the moon and back. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Shepard’s visit, select stories from that edition are being republished and visual journalist Pat Shannahan assembled more than 300 photographs, graphics, illustrations and front pages from five decades of space coverage to re-create the cover as an interactive mosaic. Auction proceeds will benefit the Air Force Space & Missile Museum Foundation and the Gannett Foundation. More information at Ad astra! 

The story of humankind’s journey to the moon can’t be captured in a single frame. That’s why visual journalist Pat Shannahan did it in 105,147 frames. With hundreds of photos, graphics, illustrations and newspaper front pages collected from across our national network’s history of covering space, he built this one-of-a-kind picture-of-pictures. Deep inside this image, you’ll discover heavy rockets that lifted experimental payloads, renderings of real and experimental space vehicles – even hand-signed letters from Alan Shepard.

Take a step back, though, and the big picture remains clear. Since 1966, FLORIDA TODAY’s mission has been to cover the people, the culture, the triumphs and tragedies of America’s space program. A copy of this newspaper – this very section, the front page you see here – went to the moon in 1971, making this story both a triumph of technology and a work of art.

The original 1969 illustration is by John Handloser. Photographers and artists of the hundreds of images inside this composite include Robert W. Ahrens, Craig Bailey, Jennifer Borresen, Veronica Bravo, Michael R. Brown, Terry Bryne, Malcolm Denemark, Karl Gelles, Delinda Karnehm, Bob Laird, Janet Loehrke, Andrew Long, Dave Merrill, Ramon Padilla, George Petras, Frank Pompa, Pat Shannahan, Tim Shortt, and Mike B. Smith.

Explore the interactive mosaic

12:43 pm UTC Jun. 22, 2021

1:08 pm UTC Jun. 30, 2021

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